Vincent Ginardi’s 10 Prospect Bold Predictions for 2023 – Midseason Revisit

A look back at the preseason prospect predictions.

This week (at least as of Tuesday afternoon) is a bit light on prospect promotions so let’s make a pivot. Prior to the start of the 2023 MLB season, I made 10 prospect related bold predictions. We are about two weeks away from the midway point of the regular season so it feels like a decent time to check in on how those predictions are doing. As a reminder these predictions were meant to be bold so we were hoping to get one or two correct.


1. Pitcher List’s 2024 Top 10 Dynasty Prospect list will include at least five prospects that were not included on the 2023 Top 100 ranking


I’m angry with past me for kicking off the list with such a complicated prediction. Let’s comb through the moving parts here and see where we stand. The original logic behind this prediction, in short, was that a lot of the top names would be graduating and that the previous year saw some surprise names have astronomical climbs. A quick reminder of who fell into our preseason Top 10: Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Walker, Elly De La Cruz, Anthony Volpe, James Wood, Andrew Painter, Jackson Chourio, Grayson Rodriguez and Jordan Lawlar.

Ok, so Carroll, Henderson, Walker, De La Cruz, and Volpe have either all graduated or will have graduated by the end of this season. Rodriguez will probably be up again at some point and graduate, too. And even if that doesn’t happen his 2023 big league performance, at least thus far, has most likely pushed him outside of the Top 10. Wood tore up High-A before getting a recent promotion to Double-A, while Chourio and Lawlar have put up passable but unspectacular stats at Double-A while being very young for the level. Painter is still recovering from a preseason elbow injury and should return to professional action in the next few weeks.

All of that is to say that there are at least six open spots here, with the potential for a few more. In that sense, this prediction looks like it’s in play.

Unfortunately, we run into some difficulty when trying to find players that were outside the Top 100 that are likely to vault all the way into the Top 10. Prospects like Jackson Holliday and Junior Caminero seem like sure bets to be in that Top 10, but they were already well within the original Top 100.

As of now, one potential candidate is Dodgers 23-year-old Emmet Sheehan, who has carved up Double-A to the tune of a 1.86 ERA and 30.8% K-BB rate. But it’s also possible that the Dodgers call him up in the near future and he exhausts his prospect eligibility. Ethan Salas is another name that didn’t crack our Top 100, but has been skyrocketing up lists after debuting at Single-A as 16-year-old, and whose value may only continue to soar if he produces there.

We can look at the 2023 draft for reinforcements, though. Dylan Crews will likely slot right into the Top 10, assuming he hits well in either Single-A or High-A following the draft. Other potential top draftees like Wyatt Langford, Paul Skenes, Walker Jenkins, Chase Dollander and Max Clark will also be considerations.

Midseason Verdict: Possible, but unlikely. It’s more likely that one or two names fit the mold. Five was too high of a number.


2. Elly De La Cruz is not considered a Top 50 prospect by the end of the season


While this one is technically going to be correct because of graduation, this is a big swing and a miss. No need to look at this any longer. Elly has become the most famous prospect on the planet.

Midseason Verdict: LOL.


3. Brandon Pfaadt wins National League Rookie of the Year


Ugh. I’m a bit upset about this one because I let myself buy into the preseason hype surrounding Pfaadt despite there being some red flags in the profile.

It was easy to get caught up in the Pfaadt hype train in March. The righty had a breakout season in 2022, posting a 26.9% K-BB rate and 3.83 ERA in 167 innings across Double-A and Triple-A. He was even better in his frames at Triple-A, too, where he had a 2.63 ERA in 61.1 innings. Pair that with the fact that the Diamondbacks rotation appeared to have some holes and it was easy to see the path to success at the MLB level for Pfaadt.

But I think we all, myself included, too quickly ignored that Pfaadt’s ERA wasn’t elite, and that his FIP and xFIP were actually worse. We also ignored that he had a home run issue in the minors. As a result, he didn’t get the promotion until later in the year than the prospect community expected and the results in the bigs have been ugly (8.37 ERA in five starts).

He won’t be winning the Rookie of the Year award. Long term I think he can still turn into someone like Tyler Mahle – high strikeout numbers with some home run issues – but it’s definitely ok to reset expectations at this point.

Midseason Verdict: Incorrect.


4. Ben Joyce leads the Angels in saves


So the logic behind this one gets some mixed results but it’s another prediction that will ultimately fall flat. This prediction was based on two factors: that Joyce would be a quick moving prospect, especially in an organization that has not been shy about bringing up their young players, and that the Angels bullpen could use some help.

Joyce did get the call a few weeks ago and was thrust into some high-leverage roles almost immediately. But the Angels bullpen has actually been one of the better groups in the league, ranking seventh in fWAR. Moreso, Carlos Estévez has looked the part of a legitimate closer and has yet to blow a save. He currently has 17, and with Joyce now on the IL with a UCL injury, this one ain’t happening. Here’s to hoping that the injury isn’t too long term.

Midseason Verdict: Incorrect.


5. Josh Jung leads the Rangers in home runs


Well, well, well! We have one that doesn’t look too bad. This prediction was based on a potential Jung breakout and we are certainly getting it. The 25-year-old third baseman is currently triple slashing .287/.337/.506. It’s fair to say that he is one of the better third baseman to roster in dynasty formats.

More importantly for this prediction, Jung has 13 home runs. That ranks second on the team, two behind Adolis García, and is tied for 20th in all of baseball. Jung is pacing out to be a 30+ home run bat across a full season.  Even if Jung ends up not leading the team in home runs, the spirit of this one feels correct. It’s like the opposite of the Elly.

Midseason Verdict: Possible!


6. Addison Barger continues to rake, becomes a consensus Top 30 prospect, and is traded midseason


This exercise is difficult enough and then there I go making three predictions in one. Barger played 20 games in April and put up mediocre numbers at the plate before suffering a right elbow injury. He’s just getting back into game action. Suffice it to say, his stock has not risen. It might be a good buy low opportunity on him, but it’s difficult to see him becoming a Top 30 prospect this season. We’ll see if the other predictions come to fruition.

Midseason Verdict: Unlikely on the prospect rank, too early to tell on the other aspects.


7. Matt Mervis is not someone worth a roster spot in most dynasty formats by the end of the season


Dynasty sizes and formats vary greatly, so this is a lesson in specificity. That being said, my angle here was obvious: Mervis had become overrated in the prospect community – he ranked 68th on our preseason list – and that 2023 would show that he is closer to a part-time player than an exciting dynasty asset.

This one is looking good so far. In Mervis’ first 26 games at the big league level he is triple slashing just .170/.240/.295 with three home runs and a 33% strikeout rate. That’s good for a 47 wRC+. Of course he could adjust and become a productive hitter, but we haven’t seen it yet. He was optioned back to Triple-A on Thursday.

Midseason Verdict: Trending toward a correct prediction.


8. Nick Loftin hits at least 10 home runs and steals at least 10 bases at the MLB level in 2023


Loftin has performed well at Triple-A, triple slashing .281/.332/.389 with nine home runs and three steals in 44 games. I still think he will get an MLB shot at some point, but getting those type of counting stats when he is yet to be called up to the big league level.

Midseason Verdict: Highly Unlikely.


9. Brice Turang finishes Top 10 in steals at the MLB level


Turang swiped two bags in his first four games and this looked like a great prediction. He has really struggled at the plate though, triple slashing .205/.254/.307 in 57 games, so that’s led to limited base stealing opportunities. He still has nine swipes, which is tied for 28th, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities, but his lack of production with the bat led to him being sent to Triple-A in early June. Minor League stats don’t count so this isn’t looking great unless he gets called back up in the very near future.

Midseason Verdict: Unlikely.


10. Richard Fitts finishes the season as a Top 100 prospect


Fitts is a Double-A arm in the Yankees system and he’s put up a 4.25 ERA with a 19.9% K-BB rate in 11 starts. Those are decent enough numbers but not ones that are good enough to vault someone up lists. That being said, he is coming off his best start of the year where he tossed eight innings and struck out 10 while allowing one run. In his last four starts, he’s allowed just five runs in 26 frames while putting up a 22.6% K-BB rate. So he’s trending in the right direction. If this hot stretch continues, he could enter the Top 100 discussion by the end of the season.

Midseason Verdict: Jury is still out.




Overall, the Mervis prediction feels like a win while the Jung one has a real chance. A couple of the others have outside shots. Obviously there were some massive misses, too, like Elly and Pfaadt. The goal here was to get bold with predictions and hope that one or two hit, so mission accomplished.


Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Reds | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)

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